Vicarage Avenue, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, SK8
A modest post-war suburban church in the blocky sub-Romanesque style favoured by its architects, Reynolds & Scott. The arcaded interior is plainly finished and complemented by a set of contemporary liturgical fittings and seating.
The church was built to serve the growing suburbs of Cheadle Hulme. Catholics in the area went to Cheadle before 1941, after this date Mass was said by Fr Joseph Howe in the King’s Hall. Fr Joseph raised the funds for the site and building on Vicarage Lane; the new church opened on 8 December 1952, and was built from designs by the prolific firm of Reynolds & Scott. Fr Joseph was appointed the first parish priest and lived at 62 Hilltop Avenue until the presbytery was built in 1964.
The church is orientated with the sanctuary roughly facing the northeast; for this description this will be referred to as the east end. The plan consists of an aisled nave and west gallery and narthex under one roof, gabled transepts, a low crossing tower with shallow hipped roof and a gabled sanctuary without side chapels. The building is faced in red brick laid in Flemish bond, with double Roman clay tiles on the roof. The style is a simple version of north Italian Romanesque with semi-circular arched openings. The west gable end facing the road has a deeply recessed central doorway with panelled doors and a mosaic panel above depicting St Ann. The west end of the nave is lit by triple lancets, with similar east windows and high level north and south lights to the sanctuary. Blind arches on the sides of the sanctuary suggest projected chapels that were not implemented. The crossing tower has nine fixed lights to each face. All windows are in steel frames. The 1990s octagonal hall designed by John Lynch is connected to the south end of the narthex via a part-glazed link.
Inside, the church is light and airy with plain plastered walls and pale joinery. The four-bay aisle arcades have plain semi-circular arches with original 1950s wall lights to the nave. The sanctuary and crossing are expressed by plain semi-circular arches without mouldings. The simple contemporary fittings include oak pews, a polished terrazzo sanctuary rail and brick sanctuary step. The stone altar has a mosaic panel in similar style to the decorative mosaic sanctuary floor, an attractive ensemble; little re-ordering has taken place. The nave floor is covered with fitted carpet. The sacristy and confessional are off the south transept; both are very plain.
Architect: Reynolds & Scott
Original Date: 1952
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed